Stronger Loving World

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Thursday, April 22, 2004

Nomad Art

Driving around a curve, down a mountainous highway, large trucks roll by, graffiti stains all over their sides. When you are seven years old, the bright wings and tips of the letters on the graffiti are radiant and phosphorescent and glowing and otherworldly, radioactive and joyful like crayon wax. “Magical and prismatic like an Aladdin’s cave”. We can never read the graffiti-text. With its bulbous and decaying typography, it is a pictogram as well as a phonetic and often monosyllabic word… “Sen” “Speak” “Seer” “Senk”, especially now, striped across a row of white tractor trailers lined up along I-95, it’s a text always being re-written and replaced. The paint is thin and soluble, it affixes to concrete, brick, mortar and embeds itself. It needs to be re-written, replaced, destroyed, annihilated, augmented, mutated, treated to. But when the graffiti appears on a tractor-trailer, on a truck, on a van, it is already wired for self-destruction. Acid rain tears at its sides. Within days it is no longer bright, neon. It fades. As the wind lets the faces and dismembered wings of small insects crackle across its sides, tiny yellow and black dots, indistinguishable stains from unknown assailants, it blurs and chips away onto the pieces of the highway. It sacrifices its time-bias for a spatial bias. “I struggle to remember your name.” My name is part of central nervous system. Graffiti is a deliberate, explosive, self-destructive, constantly rewritten and spatially and temporally fluctuating taxonomy of selves. When you crouch underneath my window and make that rattling sound with your spraycan, it’s because you want to populate the Earth with your Self. You want to split the Subject, infinitely. You want the multitude of You’s to become separated from your body. You want a name that lives by itself, for itself. “Language perverse and for its own benefit.”

Globally, Graffiti art is an intertext, a rhizome. Thanks to Web Portals like Art Crimes and Graffiti Archaeology, the pieces of the text can connect rhizomatically; each unit providing a window to every other unit. The phosphorescent yellow and green tags that the Dominicans across the street sprayed on my wall are turned into snapshots and uploaded on my website. Japanese street-bombers pick up on it, observe the cartoonish curves and the sloppy deformations, reproduce the letters exactly but in the context of an alley in the Shibuya district. In this way, the text produces another unit, and each unit becomes a “multiplicity”, connected to every other piece of graffiti. It is a text connected in orders and gradations. In it is non-linear and unending. It is regenerating and constantly being re-written. Like the Body Without Organs, it never allows itself to be enunciated. Deleuze wants us to imagine a totality without differences; without striations, lines of demarcation, territorialization. Graffiti is a Visual colonization of the urban environment. But the body with organs, the organism, frightens us: when those differences appear, signification occurs, the unit is encoded and decoded as a text in a field of differences. The subject speaks. We are trapped in Jameson’s “Prison House of Language”, from the moment the subject appears, it is ripe for colonization, it is ripe for taxonomy.

Nomadology- Mobile graffiti is a survival mechanism. It is an extension of the brick-patterns and urban street-art. It is a body without Organs. “Keep moving, never stop moving, even in place, never stop moving” says Deleuze. With trucks, vans, tractor trailers, busses, and cargo crates, the subject becomes elusive. It is where it isn’t, deterioriating into the tarmac before it rests at another truckstop, vandalized again in the middle of the night, a new text replacing the last. No geographical stasis; no difference. It is a becoming; not an object. It will never be signified, but flashed, traced, impaled, vanishing and replaced with a new subject. “Something inhuman, at the limits of communication.” We are the egg with no cellular differentiations, the history written according to a culture still in migration.


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